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Uganda’s former legislator pinned for holding illegal meetings

Uganda's former legislator pinned for holding illegal meetings

An officer from the Uganda Air Defense has pinned a former legislator in the country for holding meetings to overthrow government. Sergeant Major Naswagi Semahera appeared in the Military General Court martial as the second prosecution witness against the former Bubulo West County Member of Parliament, Tony Nsubuga Kipoi.

Kipoi is charged together with six UPDF officers with offenses relating to security Contrary to Section 130(1) (f) of UPDF Act 2005. The other suspects all officers from the Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF are SGT Okeng, L/CPL Rogers Mweru, SGT Yunus Lemertga, PTE Ifosiga Saidi Dodla, L/CPL Cassim Adams Mawa, CPL James Shimali and CPL Yusuf Kiisa.

According to the charge sheet, between 2011 and 2012 in diverse places in Uganda specifically in Kampala, Mpigi, Luwero Entebbe, Fort Portal, Mbale Masaka and Nakasongola, the accused contrived a plot to overthrow the government of Uganda. Prosecution alleges that the suspects held meetings, mobilised funds; acquired fire arms and military training in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo also mobilised and recruited people into their rank and file to fight government.

While appearing on Tuesday before the UPDF General court martial chaired by Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti, Sergeant Major Naswagi said while at the Gulu Airbase in 2012, he received a call from his brother, Maj. Hussein Mafabi informing him about Kipoi’s plan to overthrow government.

He explained that Maj. Major Mafabi later introduced him to Kipoi at City Oil Bombo road in Kampala. Naswagi said he received a phone call from Kipoi a few days later asking to meet him at his office near MTN headquarters in Kampala.

He told court that during the meeting in Kipoi’s office he briefed him about a plot to overthrow government and asked him to start recruiting other fighters. According to Naswagi, he again met Kipoi in Ntinda in the company of a UPDF Air force soldier only identified as Lt. Majid.

Naswagi told court in Kiswahili that said he received another call from Kipoi asking him to meet at certain hotel in Mbale near the High Court. He says the meeting at the hotel was attended by 30 UPDF cadet officers. He however, says that upon realising two of the cadet officers were not from Bugisu, Kipoi turned the topic of the meeting to the establishment of Youth Sacco for Bugisu region.

According to Naswagi, after the meeting, Kipoi asked him to recruit more air defense officers to meet him and discuss how to execute their mission. During cross examination, the defense lawyers, Captain Brian Moogi and Retired Major Ronald Iduuli asked Naswagi if he had any evidence in form of a picture, video or his Movement Orders from his bosses to prove his claims.

However, Naswagi replied that he wasn’t a journalist to capture all the moments shared with Kipoi sending the former legislators in laughter. Asked on whose instructions he was operating, Naswagi was being directed by Maj. Mafabi and the Special Forces Command intelligence.

Retired Major Ronald Iduuli put it to Naswagi that his testimony was a forged story without any evidence. After the cross examination, the General Court martial chairperson, Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti adjourned the matter to June 12th, 2018 for further hearing. Retired Major Ronald Iduuli told URN outside the court room that the case against his clients is illegal.

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